Rail rolling stock company turns taxpayers’ money into dividends

Rail rolling stock company turns taxpayers’ money into dividends

29 March 2023

RMT Press Office:

Rolling stock company Angel Trains paid out £75 million of taxpayers’ money in dividends in three months, mostly to a Canadian investment fund, RMT has revealed today.

Angel Trains, one of the three ROSCOs who lease trains to the train operating companies, has a parent company registered in the tax haven Jersey, named Willow Topco but, as a result, it’s difficult to see it’s accounts. 

However, on September 16, 2021 44 per cent of Willow Topco was acquired by a new company called Amalfi Co 8 Ltd, a dedicated investment vehicle set up by PSP Investments Holding Europe Ltd, the European outlet of a Canadian Pension Fund’s investment arm (Public Sector Pension Investment Board). PSP indirectly holds 74 per cent of Angel through various vehicles which cost PSP £654 million. 

The annual accounts of this company reveal that Willow Topco paid out £75 million in just three months in the first quarter of 2022. On January 13, 2022, Willow Topco declared an interim dividend of £25 million, £11 million of which came to Amalfi Co 8 Ltd. On March 22, 2022, Willow Topco declared another interim dividend of £50 million, £22 million of which came to Amalfi Co 8 Ltd. 

In three months, Willow Topco has paid out £75 million in dividends, £33 million of which went to this one company and £55.5 million of which will have gone to PSP. 

It is not yet known how much Willow Topco paid out over the course of the rest of 2022. Angel Trains Ltd paid out a £30 million dividend in 2021 to Willow Topco. The year before that the Angel Group restructured, dissolved one of its companies and paid out a dividend worth £822 million to Willow Topco. 

With the abolition of rail franchising and the phasing in of new contracts, the government and the taxpayer now pay the ROSCOs directly for the rising cost of leasing trains. In the last five years, the ROSCOS have jacked up the cost of their leases by around 66 per cent so that it now represents around a quarter of TOC spending. 

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said that while passengers had faced cancellations and cuts on the rail network, the company extracted £75 million from the railways all at taxpayers’ expense. 

“Our railways are every day the subject of a shadowy heist pulled by the well-heeled parasites who lease out our trains. 

“The rolling stock companies continue their shabby dealings untouched by government, shuffling taxpayers’ money out of the railways, through Jersey and in the case of Angel, into the hands of a Canadian pension fund. This is a scandal that gets far too little attention and it’s got to stop,” he said. 


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Tagged with: Angel Trains, Rolling Stock, ROSCO, RMT, Mick Lynch